As counselors we know it is vital for middle school students to meet promotion standards, (Passing both Language Arts, Math, Science and/or Social Studies) each year to reduce the risk of retention and drop-out rate at the high school level. During the 2016-2017 school year, report cards were reviewed from Powerschools (a statewide student information system) after the first quarter (9 weeks). We identified the need to develop an academic goal focusing on students at risk for retention.
Based on report cards, target groups were formed by each grade level with sixteen sixth grade students, twenty-five seventh grade students and fifteen eighth grade students. The interventions and activity that were chosen were based on meeting our academic program goal and aligned with our mindsets and behavior standards. Interventions and the activity included an academic small group, parent conferences, teacher conferences and individual counseling. The counselors gave a three question survey to the students prior to the small group as an indication on what to address in the small group. We presented lessons from a book called "Success For Teens," the lessons focused on the following objectives: Developing Academic Habits, Attitude in Everything, Goal Setting, There is No Such Thing as Failure and Make Your Dreams Come True. The small group consisted of counselors meeting with students on a weekly basis for six weeks during second quarter (9 weeks) for 45 minutes during their physical education class. We presented this activity to our target population to equip students with necessary academic skills. During the first session of the small group the counselors had students to complete a pre-test survey with five true or false questions. At the conclusion of the small group a post-test was given with the same five questions to measure growth and comprehension.
Counselors held individual parent conferences to discuss their child being at risk of failing. This intervention was chosen to foster communication between home and school to enhance academic student achievement. A total of 15 out of the 56 parents showed up for the counselor meetings that were scheduled. Weekly check-ins were done with the language arts and math teachers by the counselors to ensure students were completing assignments and successfully passing test and quizzes. In addition, counselors did individual student planning to follow up with the students to make sure they were being held accountable for completing assignments, and passing all tests/quizzes. Outcome data indicated 43% of students met promotion standards and were promoted. Unfortunately, 57% of our students did not meet promotion standards, by not passing language arts or math and were promoted with interventions to the next grade level.
In reflection, although these students were promoted with interventions we will continue to monitor this target support group for this current school year. For future lessons we would include questions on our pre and post test regarding promotions standards. Despite not having a good turn out for the parent conferences, we could consider various times we offer the parent conferences. The counselors would also consider partnering with our social worker when doing home visits to get a better response and participation. Our data results helped the counselors realize that they needed to implement new interventions/activity that target promotion standard requirements.